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Environmental impact of Decommissioning: Quantifying Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions - National Decommissioning Centre

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Wednesday, April 24, 2019
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

There are many offshore structures and installations used for the extraction of oil and gas and for renewable energy with a limited life that have to be decommissioned, a process governed by international and UK laws and regulation. These include the requirement to conduct an Environmental Impact Assessment for decommissioning each facility, which focuses on the impact on biological and socio-economic receptors. Currently the GHG emissions associated with decommissioning are not evaluated in-depth as the life cycle assessment process is complex. This omission conflicts with the law to reduce UK GHG emissions to 20% of those in 1990 by 2050.

Decommissioning is an energy intensive process with marine operations requiring large equipment and many ship-miles and operating time. There are GHG costs associated with waste disposal and recycling of materials. The GHG emissions caused by the decommissioning process can be very high, but depend on the amount of infrastructure removed and methods used. This project intends to investigate the energy and GHG intensity of each decommissioning operation and build an open access application that can be easily used by offshore operators on a routine basis for decommissioning EIA’s to assess the impact of the various options on GHG emissions.

The results of this research will provide an open access platform to perform LCA.s to determine the GHG emissions of decommissioning which will benefit the offshore industry and stakeholders in facilitating the EIA process. In addition, it will assist policy makers and regulators reconcile the GHG expenditure in decommissioning with the government’s GHG reduction goals to balance carbon cost against other environmental impacts. It would also provide a tool for third sector and other organizations to help in the evaluation of ecosystems services. I envisage that the IP would come from UoA and have a similar impact to the Cool Farm Tool. The student would gain expertise in LCA and EIA processes, application development as well as becoming familiar with all aspects of decommissioning and would have a valuable skill set for a future career.

External partners would be the major service companies involved in well abandonment, facility decommissioning and cleaning and facilities removal.

The successful student will benefit from being part of a new and exciting decommissioning research centre working in Newburgh, Aberdeenshire, along with other PhD students, industry and academics among others. NDC includes state-of-the-art engineering laboratories and hangar space for the design and development of decommissioning technology, as well as a suite of environmental commercial testing facilities. At the heart of the Centre is the Decommissioning Immersive Collaborative Environment (DICE), a high-tech digital visualisation suite.

The successful candidate should have, or expect to obtain a UK Honours Degree at 2.1 or above (or equivalent) in Engineering or Environmental Science.

Essential background and Knowledge:
Knowledge of marine installations for oil and gas or renewable energy.
Interest in environmental science and greenhouse gas emissions.
Knowledge of computer programming languages.


• Apply for Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Decommissioning
• State name of the lead supervisor as the Name of Proposed Supervisor
• State ‘National Decommissioning Centre’ as Intended Source of Funding
• State the exact project title on the application form

Application closing date is 12:00pm (GMT) on 24 April 2019. Applications received after this time will NOT be considered. Additionally, incomplete applications will NOT be considered.

When applying please ensure all required documents are attached:

• All degree certificates and transcripts (Undergraduate AND Postgraduate MSc-officially translated into English where necessary)
• CV
• 2 References (Academic, where possible - we will not be contacting referees)

Informal inquiries can be made to Dr A Hastings () with a copy of your curriculum vitae and cover letter. All general enquiries should be directed to the Postgraduate Research School ()

If a suitable candidate is identified, the studentship may be awarded before the closing date

The start date of the project is to be arranged with the supervisor

Funding Notes

Home Tuition Fees and stipend at Research Council rates for 3.5 years.

International candidates can apply if they can meet the difference between UK/EU and International Tuition fees from their own resources.

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